We were a family party of five celebrating a birthday, choosing between all of the many restaurants in Padstow. We are so pleased that we chose Paul Ainsworth's restaurant as we had a wonderful meal and lots of laughs.
We had a variety of starters, from beautifully soft haddock with a melting egg yolk on a bed of black pudding, to Cornish duck cooked Peking style with confit duck and an Asian-inspired dressing, to lambs kidneys and smoked mushrooms on toast. All were of superb quality and incredibly tasty. But it got better from there.
Two of the table had the Galloway fillet (40 day aged) and slow-cooked ox cheek. This was sublime and brilliantly cooked, as was the crispy sea bream with peas and Cornish new potatoes and potted shrimp. But the highlight was the slow-cooked ham knuckle trotter with unimaginably crispy crackling slices and bramley apple sauce with Cornish cyder.
We then moved onto the sugar overload of dessert. For those who have seen Paul cook on the Great British Menu, they will recognise both his 2011 (Trip to the Fairground) and 2012 (chocolate cake with caramac sauce and pistachio and olive oil cake topped with feta). We enjoyed both shared around the table, giggling with pleasure throughout.
The service was informative, friendly and informal - just right for the style of the place. And it was terrific value at £80 per head including generous amounts of great wines.
Would we go back? Absolutely yes, without a moment's hesitation. And I'd want both the trotter and the ox cheek!
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